Hotel gets green light for downtown Fort Wayne, Ind.

The county building department issued a building permit last week allowing the developer of a planned Courtyard by Marriott to begin construction at Harrison Square.

Work was supposed to begin in November, but the economy delayed developer White Lodging's ability to finance the $20 million hotel. Fort Wayne's redevelopment commission previously agreed to allow construction to begin by Dec. 31.

The general building permit was issued Dec. 5 to general contractor Shiel Sexton Co., based in Indianapolis. The permit is good for 90 days, Allen County Building Commissioner Dave Fuller said.

"I see this as a good sign they are committed to the project and they are going to be moving forward sooner or later," said John Urbahns, the city's community development director.

Urbahns said White Lodging, based in Merrillville, is trying to finalize financing for the hotel. And due to the upcoming holidays, he doesn't expect work to be done until January.

Contractually, White Lodging must have the hotel finished by the spring of 2010. Tax revenue generated from the hotel will help pay off a bond issue for the new baseball stadium, Parkview Field, which is slated to be finished soon.

White Lodging staff did not return calls seeking comment Thursday.

The Courtyard will have 250 rooms, a full-service restaurant, exercise room and swimming pool.

To get the hotel built, the city had to agree to construct an enclosed walkway from the hotel to the Embassy Theatre, which would allow patrons to walk from the hotel to Grand Wayne Center without being exposed to the elements. The Embassy has a walkway to the convention center.